Drivers slam new £5 Heathrow drop-off charge

Drivers slam new £5 Heathrow drop-off charge
Motorists have branded Heathrow Airport’s new £5 drop-off charge a “human cash cow machine” rather than the environmental step it claims to be.

As of 1 November, all drivers who enter the terminal forecourts will be forced to cough up a fiver, no matter how quick their drop off is.

Failure to pay the charge online, by autopay or by telephone by midnight the next day could lead to a fine of £80, halved to £40 if paid within a fortnight.

Members of the public have taken to social media to express their dissatisfaction. Alice Gribbin posted on Twitter: “£5 to stop a car for approximately 90 seconds? This is daylight robbery.”

Luke Robinson tweeted: “Absolutely ridiculous. This is a poor, poor move and makes the airport experience even more antagonistic than it already is. Please reconsider.”

Another user named Gboystyle also tweeted: “Shame on you Heathrow, and don’t try to hide behind ‘it’s better for the environment and use public transportation!’ Anything to squeeze more money from the human cash cow machine!”

The RAC’s head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes echoed drivers’ concerns, saying “while operators might claim that this is part of their sustainability plan, this will no doubt also be a robust way to raise additional revenue”.

According to Heathrow, Blue Badge holders will be eligible for a discount on the charge and business accounts will also be available to firms who make regular drop-offs, including via taxis.

London’s wheelchair-accessible licensed black cabs will also be exempt from the charge until 1 April 2022, while a consultation is conducted by Transport for London (TfL).

Heathrow Airport said: “Drop-off areas are located right outside the terminal for the easiest and quickest way to drop off passengers.

“Our car parks remain open, where normal parking charges apply. The drop-off charge does not affect passenger pick-ups, which will continue to take place via the car parks.

“You cannot pick up passengers from the drop-off zones.”

Heathrow is the last major UK airport to introduce a drop-off fee, which it claims to be part of its long-term sustainability plan.

It says free drop-offs, however, will be available at the long stay terminal car parks, with a free bus transfer to the terminals.

Nicholas Lyes added: “Sadly, Heathrow has simply followed every other major airport in the UK by introducing drop-off fees.

“The new charge might encourage some to use public transport to get to the airport, but the reality is that many people that fly out of Heathrow don’t come from central London but from other parts of the country, for whom there is little public transport provision direct to the airport.

“Many of these drop-off fees at UK airports are astonishingly high, and it’s little wonder that those who drop off loved ones at the terminal feel ripped off.”

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